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Aspendale house gutted
Edithvale CFA volunteers, supported by two MFB trucks, were called to a going house fire on 18 February.
**Story courtsey of Edithvale Fire Brigade Captain Graham Fountain**
The location on busy Station Street, near Nepean Highway, during peak hour resulted in a significant number of calls made to emergency triple zero with the large column of thick black smoke and fire being clearly visible to responding crews.
Upon arrival crews were confronted with the house totally involved in fire and reports of the potential for somebody to be trapped inside.
Not only did crews have to aggressively attack the blaze to save the neighbouring properties but also had to contend with a lack of water supply, one primary fire truck breaking down during the commencement of the firefight, an active bee hive in the front garden with bees attacking firefighters, asbestos within the building given the properties age and a large smoke column blanketing adjacent streets.
Edithvale Captain Graham Fountain congratulated the firefighters and other emergency services on their effort to battle the fire under adverse circumstances without any injury and significant spread to neighbouring properties.
He confirmed a community warning was issued for the large smoke cloud that blanketed neighbouring properties and surrounding areas given the potential asbestos exposure.
Firefighters also used positive pressure ventilation to remove smoke from a neighbouring property on the opposite corner which bore the full exposure to the smoke throughout the early stages of the fire.
Captain Fountain said the fire was suspicious and was being jointly investigated by Victoria Police Forensic Scientists and Detectives as well as CFA Fire Investigators.
“Station Street remained closed to traffic for the majority of the evening with the site declared a crime scene pending ongoing investigations,” he said.
Once safe to enter firefighters in breathing apparatus and with the aid of a Thermal Imaging Camera conducted a search of the property and confirmed nobody was trapped inside the house as earlier reported by several witnesses.”
The property was recently sold and due to settle the day following the fire, with the property being known by locals as also recently housing squatters.
Having regard for the extent of damage to the building and the asbestos exposure firefighters took the necessary precautions and decontamination procedures, with breathing apparatus support from Frankston also attending the scene.
Ambulance Victoria crews on-scene conducted health monitoring for firefighters given the strenuous work and operating environment encountered by them in controlling this blaze.
The City of Kingston Building Inspector also attended the following morning and confirmed the presence of asbestos in the roof, walls and external panelling. He took immediate steps to issue an urgent demolition and clean-up notice on the property, due to the structural integrity of the property being significantly compromised.
“This fire is a very timely reminder to people of the dangers of hoarding within domestic properties and the effects this has on fire load, intensity and dangers to the community, responding firefighters and other emergency services,” Graham reiterated.
Edithvale Pumper, Tanker, Salvage and Car as well as MFB Pumper 33 and 34 with a total of over 30 firefighters attended. In addition, specialist breathing apparatus support from Frankston and MFB also attended the scene along with CFA Fire Investigators. Agency commanders from Police, Ambulance, United Energy and Gas Company convened on-scene under the direction of Graham with the conduct of several Emergency Management Team meetings throughout the event.
Photos by Keith Pakenham (CFA Photographer)